Apology , somehow the picture file cannot be enlarged in my earlier post and a few of you requested thru the blog and emails for a better version... anyway, this is the transcription ...
Anas Zubedy is a 32-year –old consultant in change management. He speaks Bahasa Malaysia, Hokkien, English and a smattering of Tamil.
“When i was three years old, my family shifted to Fettes park, a predominantly Chinese area in Penang.
“For years we were the only Malay family in the area and by the time I was five, I was proficient in Hokkien.
“In fact, i can say that Bahasa Malaysia is my first language, Hokkien my second followed by English. I mean, outside the house i grew up like a Chinese kid. I played with the other Chinese kid and mingled with them a lot.
“Later, i even had the chance to experience the Indian way of life. This was when i was in standard four. I become friend with a new classmate, an Indian, and being close to him, i naturally spent a great deal of time at his house. It was then that i absorbed the Indian culture.
“For example, i remember reading about Hinduism in his house. I also learn to call his grandmother pathi and, during Thaipusam, i joined in the celebration by dancing with the Indians. I practically became one of the family.
“Sometimes my mum would return to Medan (Sumatra) and that’s when his mum would cook Indian food for me.
“I was fortunate that the situation was such that it allowed me to be exposed to more than one cultural setting. I learn so much about cultures other than my own. More than that, I learn to respect them.
“There are so many benefits we can derive from this. For instance, in business we can learn to think Chinese and at home we think Malay hospitality.
“Placed in a global situation, we should fare better than homogeneous societies for we have the experience of working with various kinds of people.
“We must see multi-racial Malaysia as an opportunity for creating universally oriented men and women who would, one day, take centre-stage in leading the world.
“But in order to achieve this kind of unity, Malaysians must first understand and accept two things: First, we have to understand and appreciate the fact that the Malays gave away what they called “Malay land” (tanah Melayu) and shared it with the other ethnic groups like the Chinese and Indians, so much so that they have created a new entity called Malaysia.
“Secondly, since 1957, the non-Bumis have accepted and made this country their country. So from now onwards, whether we like it or not, a new race called Bangsa Malaysia has come into being.
“Efforts in building unity must start at the earliest age possible. Parents must ensure that their own personal biases are not filtered down to their children.
“The school too plays a vital role in uniting all Malaysians. In the long run, it would be wiser and more beneficial to open all boarding schools like Mara, ITM, and Maktab Sains to all races.
“The current national school system integrates the Chinese, Tamil and Arab schools under one roof. The ideal situation would be if the national school caters to those who desire to learn their mother tongue. It would be even better if we make it compulsory for all Malaysian to learn a language other than English and their mother tongue.
“For example, a Malay student should learn either Mandarin or Tamil as a second language. I think the Malays are presently on the losing end. The Chinese or Indians know at least three languages, but most Malay knows only two.
“Barisan Nasional’s efforts towards creating a single multi-racial party should be our next step. I believe most Malaysians would find it attractive if there is a direct membership to BN without having to go through UMNO, MIC or MCA. Perhaps after Wawasan 2020, UMNO can stand for United Malaysian National Organization.
“At the end of the day, the more towards national unity should come from within each and everyone of us. Every individual in this country must be aware that he or she plays a vital role. We should not unite due to political or economic reasons but because we truly desire to be one nation.
“The Muslims must also remember that the “Al-Quran preaches ummah wahidah, the concept of one single community. As this country is led by Muslims, this would be a great opportunity for them to practice this concept.”